Friday, 29 June 2012

Justice League #10 review

David Graves, who has been kidnapping enemies of the Justice League and torturing them for information, strikes. He invades the team's satellite and assaults the members with memories of loss that leave them gnarled husks. Along the way we learn how Graves was granted power by minor gods and perhaps acts as a conduit to feed them energies. And Wonder Woman shows us her fulsome breasts.

Oh, is that not a story point? You could be forgiven for being confused - every time Diana appears her breasts are fighting to stay inside her costume. Penciller Jim Lee is so focused on Diana's decolletage that when a splash shows the League turning towards the just-arrived Graves, she faces the wrong direction, looks towards the floor.
All the better to show off the Wonder-tits, my dear. They don't deflate even when the Amazon Princess becomes a walking skeleton.

Jim Lee is the co-publisher of DC Comics - is this really how little he thinks of us? Is this how little he thinks of Wonder Woman? I fear it is ...

And Geoff Johns' script is a backslide in quality compared to the last couple of issues. Aquaman is the butt of the general public's jokes once more. Green Lantern is an emerald ass. Cyborg projects holograms of villains that are less clear than a mobile phone snap. Superman is sniffy and distant. Flash is paranoid. Wonder Woman is a loose cannon liability.

Batman's OK, actually. 

There is, though, no way that I can believe these people have had one another's backs for five years - some of them can barely bear to be in the same room.

And while Graves' magical power is classic Silver Age silliness, his design is Modern Age awful - high collar and corset exposing the images of his late family carved into his ivory flesh. Or maybe manifesting from it, it's not clear.

And it's annoying that we're being teased about details of Wonder Woman's life that should be revealed in her own series. It seems Diana considers Steve Trevor simply a friend, on the same level as the unnamed Apache woman she visits once a month. It's intriguing. but given the Dallas With Gods soap that is her home book, Lord knows when we'll find out more.

It's sad that the biggest kick I got this time was an offhand reference to Eighties JLA legend Vibe. Yet I know that writer Geoff Johns and penciller Jim Lee can do so much better.

The 'other' Geoff Johns writes the back-up Shazam feature. The guy whose scripts eschew bombast for character building. The one who allows his players' personalities to reveal themselves rather than leap out and sock us in the kisser. I really like that Geoff Johns.

Here, Johns shows us Billy Batson's vulnerable side, reveals his surprising best friend and begins forging a bond between Billy and foster brother Freddy Freeman. He also catches us up on Sivana's search for magic and introduces a powerful new/old player. The script is subtle and satisfying, and perfectly envisioned by artist Gary Frank, whose facility with character 'acting' gets better by the issue; few artists can match Frank for realistically expressive faces.

So the supporting feature outshines the main attraction. Little Billy Batson and his mundane battles are more compelling than the 'world's greatest superheroes' fighting for their lives.

If Johns and Lee concentrate more on telling a good story with the League, and less on Kewl Moments and fake-looking breasts, they could turn things around. Soon would be nice.

28 comments:

  1. Thats my big problem with the New 52 League. Johns writes the characters like they're all a bunch of arsholes LOL

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    1. I really thought he'd gotten over that. Durn. I'd love to see what Kieron Gillen would do with this team.

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    2. I'd love to see what Judd Winick, Dan Jurgens, Scott Snyder, hell; I mean anybody could do a better job than Geoff Johns who Jim Lee and Dan Didio both think has gold comin out of his ass.

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    3. maybe scott snyder could do a better job

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    4. It'll be interesting to see who DC does pick when Johns steps down to revamp the Martian Manhunter or whomever (hey, there are green Martians and white Martians, let's introduce the pink, mauve and yellow Martians, and have them argue over who ate the last Oreo!), Caz.

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    5. now now mart maybe well see the same johns who wrote the justice society of america again

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  2. Information GeekSaturday, 30 June, 2012

    So the Justice League book to be reading is actually JLD and not the main book? Shame really but I'll still continue reading this since Johns seems to like surprising me in the end. However, only in trades!

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    1. Well, if that works for you ... I've given up on Johns' Aquaman and Green Lantern, but loads of people are loving them.

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    2. Information GeekSunday, 01 July, 2012

      I am still continuing the Aquaman book and it's been really good. The villian conflict between Aquaman and Black Manta is really interesting with just how personal it is between the two of them and the Others are all unique in their own ways. Plus, we have our first official old superhero introduced among them for the new 52.

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    3. '...official old superhero'? Who's that then?

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    4. He's not official as say a character from the previous DC universe, but a new one by Geoff Johns. He is the Operative, a member of the Others that used to be the group Aquaman was a member of. He's the guy in the black diving looking suit with green googles. He looks to be in his 70s to 80s (though apparently it is the suit/artifact that keeps him going.) While not super powered or anything (gadget kind of individual), he is still the only active hero that is an old man in the the new universe. Kind of neat if you think about it.

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    5. And what's the betting he gets killed off in the next issue or two so his grandson can take over the role. My guess is the grandson will blame Aquaman for the death and become a new enemy.

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    6. Thanks, Info - I only stuck around for the first part of the Others, but a senior hero could be fun. Resurrection Man has an older chap too, mind.

      Who are the Others, the Others in relation to?

      You're probably right, Gary!

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  3. I'm just glad Steve hasn't betrayed the league, also if I'm right the league will be getting a change that will make them a better team, plus a new member will join after this arc

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    1. Perhaps we'll get the previously announced Lady Luck.

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    2. actually it could be element woman cause she show's up next issue

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  4. I have had the same feeling about the Geoff Johns' Justice League as you. I was ready to drop it until they introduced the Shazam backup, which to me is really carrying this book (his Aquaman book is also one of my favorites). It's like totally two different writers! Johns seemed to be crafting a better story after the first arc, but he seems to have reverted back. I'm really hoping they pull out of this funk. I mean it's the Justice League for cryin' out loud!

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    1. Do we now how long the Shazam strip is going to run? I'd love it to be spun out so whether or not to continue using the JL title becomes an easier decision.

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  5. I'd completely missed Wonder Woman facing the wrong way in that splash page, Martin - nicely spotted.

    My main problem with the League is that they don't act like they've been together for five years. It reads like their first adventure stopping Darkseid was only a few weeks ago and they're still getting to know each other, still bickering as they find out who's who.

    After that length of time, I'd expect them to be a solid team that can defeat a lightweight like Graves.

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    1. Cue my usual refrain - why are the editors not editing, sorting out these scripts so they make more sense, Gary?

      It is surprising that Graves got so far in his attacks against the League - it's seven against one and while , of course the villains have to be bigged up, I d hate it when heroes just stand around rather than immediately try to incapacitate an obvious antagonist.

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    2. Johns is one of the gods of DC at the moment (not knocking that - I really like most of his work) so you could understand, if not condone, the editors saying "Geoff... errr, the way these blokes are talking to each other... ummm.... no, no, don't worry, forget I mentioned it, I'm sure no-one will notice..."

      Who has the guts in the cut-throat world of comics to say to their boss "Geoff, this is a bit rubbish."?!

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  6. I'm glad you didn't review Wonder Woman #10. It was another lame issue, with WW do a "Run Away Bride" bit. She gets jumped by 3 dog harpies, but the fight happens off-panel. Then WW get overwhelmed by Hades and is rescued by Strife. WW "defeats" Hades by telling him she loves him, but she loves everyone. Not plot lines were tied up except for the one dirctely dealing with this trip to the Underworld. The art looked awful
    Kano and Aitkens draw an ugly WW.

    Steve

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    1. Thanks for the info on Wonder Woman, Steve - its been nearly two weeks and nothing I've heard has made me regret not buying it.

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  7. This new JLA is so totally different from any version Ive read before; every character appears so unreachable and far removed from their original personalities. And the other posters here are correct; these heroes dont look as if theve been together thru thick and thin the past five years, they can barely tolerate each other.
    I can barely tolerate them!

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    1. They do seem like a bunch or arrogant stooks - I'd much prefer reading about the Detroit League, Hero Hotline or Justa Lotta Animals, Karl!

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  8. This may annoy WW fans but if Geoff concentrated on League development properly instead of pushing love sick Steve Trevor and let's make him Nick Fury..you might have gotten a good book. I swear this book is not JL since # 6 so much more Days in the life of Steve Trevor. It's true these people have been 5 years together and I have yet to see why they want to work together. Morrison did more characterization in a few pages in Action that Geoff did five years later in the last 4 issues.

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    1. I worry that if Steve weren't around there'd be no one who's not an idiot in the book.

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  9. what's so silly about graves' power, it looks to me like he was draining the life out of the league, that's no silly at all

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